Veterans Find Support Year-round at UK Veterans Resource Center

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 16:51

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2014) — Since Veterans Day was established in 1954, Nov. 11 has stood as an official day to honor all military veterans in the United States and recognize their service and sacrifices.  The University of Kentucky Veterans Resource Center (VRC), a unit of Enrollment Management, works every day to honor our veterans and provide them support and services to assist with their transition either into higher education for the first time or for a return to college.


UK is consistently ranked by both GI Jobs Magazine and the Military Times, Edge Magazine as one of the top campuses in the nation for military and veteran students.  Today, we highlight three of those veterans who value the support of the Veterans Resource Center while working toward their degrees.


Matthew Bradford


Marine Corps veteran Matthew Bradford's story is one of overcoming what seem like insurmountable odds — a story of inspiration not only to other veterans, but also to the UK community where Bradford is majoring in communication and history. He hopes to become a sportscaster.


Bradford grew up in Winchester, Kentucky, as a huge UK sports fan and dreamed of attending UK. However, he chose to put his dream on hold around the time of 9/11, when he enlisted in the Marines on the delayed entry program while still in high school.


Cpl. Bradford, now 28 and a seven-year veteran of the Iraq War, paid a heavy price for defending his country. He was severely injured in January 2007 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Iraq. The explosion completely severed his left leg and destroyed his right leg beyond repair. Shrapnel ripped through his left eye, and the blast detached the retina in his right, leaving him completely blind.


After a lengthy recovery, rehabilitation, and a determined spirit, Bradford picked up with his life and moved forward. In February 2007, he was awarded the Purple Heart, and he is the first blind, double-amputee to re-enlist in the history of the Marine Corps.


He traveled the globe sharing his experience with others, particularly with others in the military, offering support and encouragement. He has attempted — and achieved — the seemingly impossible, some of which include water skiing, rock climbing, and scuba diving. He has appeared on national media; sung on stage with country music superstar and outspoken U.S. military supporter Toby Keith; and fell in love and started a family with his wife and children.


After beginning his college education at Coastal Carolina Community College in South Carolina and then Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington, Bradford made the move to UK, where he credits the Veterans Resource Center with helping him comfortably transition into college life and navigate the campus.


"I worried about getting to my classes, but the center has helped by providing a golf cart and someone who picks me up and transports me where I need to go," Bradford said.


The VRC exists to assist student veterans with whatever is needed to help them succeed academically said Anthony Dotson, coordinator of UK's Veterans Resource Center and a veteran himself.


"Our center is honored to take on the responsibility of assisting Matt in getting around campus and to his classes here at UK," Dotson said. "It is truly a team effort, not only within my office but also with the Disabilities Resource Center, the Army and Air Force ROTC programs and the UK Police Department.  We have even identified a “battle buddy” within each of his classes to assist him when we are not there.  Being able to provide Matt and his wife Amanda with that level of confidence, allows him to focus on his classes, but more importantly allows my team to focus on what is really important, and that is helping our fellow student veterans."


In addition to the practical help the VRC provides Bradford every day, it also serves as a source of companionship and camaraderie with other veterans — something Bradford greatly appreciates.


"It's nice to have a place to go and have lunch and hang out with people who have shared similar experiences as vets," he said. "The Veteran's Center is a great resource and Tony (Dotson) looks out for us."


Ashley Hyatt


Senior Airman Ashley Hyatt, a native of Saint Charles, Virginia, joined the United States Air Force in 2007 right after graduating from Valley View High School in California where her family lived at the time. She served four years, three of those years at an air base in Ramstein, Germany, where she worked as a dental assistant. After discharge from active duty in 2012, she went into the Air Force Reserves and made her way to the University of Kentucky, where she soon plans to enroll in the nursing program.


Hyatt first became interested in nursing in high school when her father was diagnosed with colon cancer. She observed the nurses in the oncology clinics where her father received radiation and chemotherapy treatment.


"The nurses were so kind and gentle and understanding, and they made a difficult situation manageable," she said "They were a beacon of hope to both my father and my entire family. Even though we lost my father in the end, the time spent in the small clinics and hospitals, remains a very positive memory for me."


In choosing UK for her college education, Hyatt also connected with UK's VRC, where she is now employed and credits with being instrumental to her success as a student veteran. She says veterans are often a little older than the traditional student, and it is comforting to have a place to retreat and be with people who share a mindset and similar experiences.


"The retention rate of student veterans is alarmingly low throughout the United States, and places like this provide much needed resources to our transitioning veterans," Hyatt said. "Many veterans are used to taking care of things themselves and not having to ask for help, but when they are in the VRC, we all take care of each other. I have had so many student veterans come up to me and say this office has been such an important part of their educational endeavors, and they truly appreciate the fact that it exists here at UK."


Additionally, Hyatt plays an important role at the VRC when she reaches out to fellow female veterans.


"Ashley represents several demographics within the VRC — she is an Air Force veteran, an Air Force reservist and an Air Force cadet," Dotson said.  "More importantly, Ashley represents the 18-20 percent of our student veterans who are women.  Women who have served are far less likely to self-identify as a veteran and therefore are far more difficult to reach and support.  Ashley does a wonderful job of bringing this underrepresented population to the forefront, not to mention that she sets the standard for customer service."



Elia Tautua Jr.


Hawaii native Elia Tautua Jr. graduated from high school on the island of Oahu in 2001, but did not enroll at UK until 2012. For 11 years he served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper and also a logistics specialist, including a deployment to Iraq and an assignment in Germany.


"I thought it would be really hard for me to make the transition to college after so long away," Tautua said. "Frankly, this kind of trepidation scares away a lot of veterans from even applying."


However, he found hope and help from the UK Veterans Resource Center.


"The VRC walked me through the application process step by step," said Tautua. "And UK waives the application fee for veterans. The staff at the VRC answered my questions and relieved a lot of stress."


By now you may be wondering, 'How does a native of Oahu who is an Army vet happen to choose UK as the place to resume his education after more than a decade away?'


"In the latter part of 2011, while stationed in Garmisch, Germany, I met a beautiful young woman, Jenna Ballard, from Bardstown, Ky., who happened to be a graduate of UK," related Tautua. "Jenna moved to Lexington not long after that and we kept in touch. When my tour of duty was up in the spring of 2012, I followed her to the Bluegrass."


A senior majoring in business management in UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics, Tautua said that the degree path he has chosen is enabling him to translate the leadership and management skills he gained from the Army to a new perspective.


"I am also pursuing a second degree in accounting from Gatton," Tautua added. "Having a 'hard' skill like accounting should make me more marketable in an extremely competitive environment."  As he looks to the future, he hopes to work in the logistics field or as a CPA.


Tautua is also doing an internship with General Electric Appliance Park in Louisville, which he obtained during one of several veteran-centered job fairs the VRC organizes.


"I’m very proud to have Elia on the team," Dotson said. "He is the epitome of student veterans' success at the undergraduate, level and I couldn’t ask for a better role model for other students to follow. I’m very excited about his current internship with General Electric because I know he is going to be a standout performer.  I’m even more excited about his return to campus and the Veterans Resource Center where he can share his experience with other student veterans."


"If there is one thing I could tell veterans thinking about coming back to school it would be to realize that you are not in this alone," said Tautua. "The people here at UK are ready and willing to help you reach your educational goals."


The UK VRC is headquartered in Room 124 of the Funkhouser Building. For more information, go to  You can email or Dotson at The phone number for the center is 859-257-1148.

Join the Big Blue Thank You

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 16:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2014) — In the midst of our busy rush, rush, rush days, it can sometimes be difficult remembering the simple acts that enrich our lives — like giving someone a heartfelt “thank you for all you do.”


The University of Kentucky Parent Association has created that opportunity with the Big Blue Thank You program.


On Nov. 12 and Nov. 13, the Parent Association staff will provide students with note cards, pens and refreshments so they can write a thank you note to a parent, family member or mentor back home who has helped them succeed at UK.


Tables set up at the Student Center Starbucks will be staffed 11 a.m.–2 p.m. this Wednesday and Thursday to provide writing materials. Sealed, addressed letters left with Parent Association staff will be mailed at no charge to students.


“This is the second year that we are offering this program,” said Christine Baughman, graduate assistant in the Office of New Student and Parent Programs. “We hope that students take advantage of the opportunity to express their gratitude to those who mean the most to them and who have supported them with their college dreams and goals. The UK Parent Association is here to support the relationship between students and their families, and this is a simple way for us to do just that.”


For more information regarding this event, please contact the UK Parent Association staff by emailing or calling 859-257-6597


The Parent Association is a department within the Office of New Student and Parent Programs, which is part of the Division of Student Affairs, an integral part of the University of Kentucky experience. With interactions among students, faculty and staff, Student Affairs seeks to facilitate the integration of the students’ academic experience with other aspects of university life that encourage personal and professional development. One of the most important keys to a student's success is building meaningful relationships and developing strong connections to the university through members of the UK community. Student Affairs provides many opportunities to facilitate these connections through internships, intramural athletics, volunteer work, student clubs, registered student organizations, community service, and much, much more.




MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302,

UK Teams Up with LexPhil, Ky. Colleges for 'Carmina Burana' Concert

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:15

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2014) — University of Kentucky Chorale will team up with Lexington Philharmonic and four regional choral ensembles to bring a rare performance of "Carmina Burana" to the stage 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, at Singletary Center for the Arts.


Alexander Scriabin’s "Poem of Ecstasy" opens the program with a full orchestra journey inspired by the trials and tribulations of humanity, followed by "Carmina Burana," Carl Orff’s masterwork of fate and fortune brought to life by vocal talent from UK, Eastern Kentucky University, Berea College, Transylvania University, SCAPA (School for the Creative and Performing Arts) Children’s Choir, and soloists Amanda Woodbury, soprano; Daniel Shirley, tenor; and Chad Sloan, baritone.


LexPhil conductor and Music Director Scott Terrell’s choice to pair Scriabin’s "Poem of Ecstasy" and Orff’s "Carmina Burana" is part of LexPhil’s ongoing movement toward “cultivating an environment where high-level artistry is paramount to building a strong arts community. One of the ways we support this community is through collaboration – a LexPhil core value – with the rich talent found in the region’s choral programs. I am thrilled to bring together these fresh voices from Berea College Concert Choir, Eastern Kentucky University Singers, SCAPA Children’s Choir, Transylvania University Choir, and the University of Kentucky Chorale for this powerful production of Orff’s 'Carmina Burana.'”


Both "Poem of Ecstasy" and "Carmina Burana" draw inspiration from poetic texts, heavily focusing on the wonders of the universe and the rare emotions that define human nature. While "Poem of Ecstasy" is a lush orchestral feature, Orff’s "Carmina Burana" is presented by LexPhil in its traditional vocal and orchestral setting instead of the theatrical “scenic cantata” for dramatic acting, dancing and singing originally intended by Orff. It is scored for choirs (men, women, boys and mixed), soloists (baritone, tenor and soprano), and a large, percussion-heavy orchestra, grouped into 24 sections characterized by lyrical and raucously rhythmic episodes.


Orff’s "Carmina Burana" also features the vocal talent of soloists Amanda Woodbury, Daniel Shirley and Chad Sloan. Kentucky-born soprano Amanda Woodbury is a member of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. She made her LA Opera debut as Micaëla in "Carmen" (2013) with subsequent appearances as Papagena in "Die Zauberflöte." She was recently honored as a winner of the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, as well as receiving the Sara Tucker Study Grant. In 2014, she earned both second place and Audience Choice awards at Houston Grand Opera’s Elleanor McCollum Competition (2014).


Tenor Daniel Shirley debuted at Carnegie Hall in 2013, reviewed by the New York Concert Review as a voice that “soared over the large forces with strength and clarity.” The vocalist continues to earn critical praise for his appearances in concert, opera and musical theater. Recent awards include fifth place in the 2014 American Traditions Competition, honorable mention in the 2013 George London Foundation awards, and a 2012 Career Development Grant from the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation. Shirley has also been honored with awards from the Anna Sosenko Trust, the National Society of Arts and Letters, Central City Opera, Chautauqua Opera and the Dayton Opera Guild.


American baritone Chad Sloan is recognized as much for his warm, elegant vocalism as he is for deft interpretations of diverse characters. In the 2012-2013, he performed "Carmina Burana" with Columbia Pro Cantare, Johann Sebastian Bach’s "Weihnachts-Oratorium" with Louisville Choral Arts Society, Johannes Brahms’ "Liebeslieder Waltzer" at Twickenham Music Festival, Benjamin Britten’s "War Requiem" at Lawrence Conservatory and as baritone soloist in performances with the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. A graduate of the Juilliard School, Sloan is an active recitalist who recently performed a program responding to an installation of French Impressionism at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York. He has performed at Wolf Trap Opera in "The Pursuit of Love," and in the world premiere of Kenji Bunch’s "Dream Songs" at Carnegie Hall.


Prior to each Season Series concert, guests will have the opportunity to participate in an insightful discussion of the night’s events with Maestro Terrell during LexPhil’s "Inside the Score." Each "Inside the Score" starts at 6:45 p.m., and is held in the President’s Room at the Singletary Center for the Arts.


Valet parking is available for $10 per car at the Rose Street entrance to the Singletary Center. Free parking is available in any E Parking Lot on the UK campus, as well as Parking Structure 5 located at 409 S. Limestone, with entrances on South Limestone and South Upper Street. 


General admission tickets to "Carmina Burana" range from $25-75 with $11 student tickets also available. Pick 4 ticket packages are still available beginning at $85. "Carmina Burana" is made possible through the generous support of Unified Trust Company. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact the Lexington Philharmonic at 859-233-4226, or visit the website at


The UK Chorale is the premier mixed choral ensemble at UK School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts. It consists mostly of upperclassmen and graduate students. While the majority of singers are music majors, there are a number of other academic disciplines represented within the ensemble. The Chorale prides itself in performing a wide variety of choral literature from Renaissance to 21st Century. UK Chorale performs under the direction of Jefferson Johnson, director of UK Choral Activities.


Conductor Scott Terrell was appointed music director of the Lexington Philharmonic in 2009. During his tenure, he has re-invigorated and raised the artistic level of the ensemble, expanded collaborations, increased subscriptions and challenged its musicians and audiences with a greater diversity of repertoire and programs. Maestro Terrell has simultaneously maintained a healthy schedule of recent guest conducting with the Colorado Symphony, Aspen Music Festival and School, and Philadelphia Orchestra. Future engagements include the Colorado Symphony, and a debut leading Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s "The Magic Flute" at the Arizona Opera.


The Lexington Philharmonic, founded in 1961, is the only professional orchestral organization in Central Kentucky. LexPhil presents more than 130 concerts and educational programs each year, including Season Series, Holiday Concerts, Peanut Butter and Jelly concerts for young children, special concerts, community programs and outdoor summer concerts. More information and tickets can be found at



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;

KTC KATS Project Selected as Project of the Year

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 08:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2014) — The Kentucky Transportation Center's (KTC) Kentucky Automated Truck Screening (KATS) project was selected as the 2014 Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) Midwest Project of the Year on October 21 at the ITS of the Midwest Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.


Six nominations represented the four states in the organization: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. KTC's project was sponsored by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) with Brian Beaven, with the Department of Vehicle Regulation, serving as the project manager. KATS was implemented by the Intelligent Transportation Systems program within KTC, including Jerry Kissick, Mark Spellman and Jennifer Walton.


In 2013, nearly 3.5 million trucks traveled through Kentucky’s 14 weigh stations. However, only about one percent of the trucks coming through the weigh stations are inspected due to the time inspections take, and limited staffing availability. Inspections are conducted to ensure that commercial vehicles are operating in a safe manner and are meeting all federal and state regulations. Identifying the right trucks for inspection can lead to fewer unsafe trucks on the roadways and increased revenue for Kentucky.


KATS, working to identify those trucks, utilizes a license plate reader, U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)/KYU number reader, and scene camera technology to collect and process identifying information from the vehicle. As a truck enters a weigh station with this system, data collection begins. A complete record contains the date and time, weight of the vehicles, the license plate number and jurisdiction, the USDOT and KYU numbers, and an overview image.


The data is then correlated into a single record and is checked against several state and federal systems. The system flags vehicles that fail any tests, but only those violations specified by enforcement are automatically directed to stop. Research has shown that inspections initiated from KATS tend to have more violations and are more likely to result in increased revenue for Kentucky. After six months, one location with KATS capability collected a 600 percent increase in revenue. To date, five KATS systems are operational and four more are being deployed at weigh stations, and will be fully operational by the end of 2014.


KTC was founded as the Kentucky Transportation Research Program in 1981, when the Kentucky Department of Highways transferred its Division of Research to the University of Kentucky’s College of Engineering. In 1988, it was combined with the University’s federally funded Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) to provide services to the transportation community through research, technology transfer and education.   


For more information about KATS, contact Amy I. Terry, communications and marketing specialist at KTC, at 859-257-7466 or

Mayor Proclaims University of Kentucky/Toyota Collaboration Day in Lexington

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 07:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2014) — Serving more than 20,000 people from around the world over the past 20 years, the University of Kentucky Lean Systems Program's collaboration with Toyota has exceeded expectations. Its success was not only recently celebrated in a letter by Toyota Motor Corporation's Honorary Chairman Fujio Cho, but was also commemorated by Lexington Mayor Jim Gray declaring Oct. 28, 2014, as "University of Kentucky/Toyota Collaboration Day." 


The proclamation recognized the Institute of Research for Technology Development, part of the College of Engineering, for responding to the “industry’s immediate and long-term needs through engineering research, education and outreach.” The Institute consists of both the Lean Systems Program and the Painting Research and Development Program.


Mayor Gray's proclamation also pointed out the benefits of Toyota's lean system: promoting a culture of problem-solving, transparency, team building and continuous improvement.


In addition to the mayor's proclamation of "University of Kentucky/Toyota Collaboration Day" presented at the 20th anniversary celebration for the programs, a letter by Cho was presented. In 1994, Cho proposed the partnership between the university and his company.


Cho wrote of his gratitude to the state of Kentucky, city of Lexington and the university, and went on to write about the future of the UK/Toyota partnership, including a joint production engineering program at UK.


Others agree that the future for the Lean Systems Program's collaboration with Toyota looks promising. As former Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins and Toyota President Simon Nagata pointed out at the anniversary celebration, the collaboration not only advances the industry, but the Commonwealth and its economy.


UK President Eli Capilouto agrees. He also commented on the possibilities of the partnership going forward.


"Together we can help Kentucky business and industry flourish. Together we can forge new pathways for integrating lean systems approaches in emerging sectors that impact Kentucky, and further develop ideas that serve as models both in the Commonwealth and internationally," Capilouto said.


Bret Anderson, executive in residence of the Lean Systems Program, expects to expand the lean philosophy to UK students in many other disciplines.


"With the backing of a large, influential and community-minded company like Toyota, and the university's mission to educate and be one of the nation's best research universities, we have high expectations," said Anderson.


The Lean Systems Program is currently developing new courses and services to offer, and added two new specialty courses this year alone. 

UK Fires Up its Campus Kitchen

Sun, 11/09/2014 - 22:56

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Nov. 10, 2014) — Thanks to a successful marketing campaign, University of Kentucky students have launched their own Campus Kitchen and several Lexington residents now know where their next meal is coming from.


The Campus Kitchens Project is a national organization that empowers student volunteers to fight hunger in their community. The Campus Kitchen at the University of Kentucky provides free, nutritious meals to Lexington citizens by using food that would otherwise go to waste. Through a partnership with UK’s dining partner Aramark, students recently began collecting unused food from locations such as dining halls, grocery stores, restaurants and farms. Program organizers estimate they will collect enough food to provide several hundred Lexingtonians with a meal each week. The Campus Kitchen group at UK has partnered with the Lexington Senior Center, Catholic Action Center, Hope Center and the Martin Luther King Academy to reach those in need.


"Recent gleaning efforts of pumpkins and kale greens at UK's Horticultural Research Farm, along with baked chicken from a university-sanctioned picnic, helped feed 50 young individuals,” said Sandra Bastin, chair of the UK Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “University students experienced the importance of community outreach in meeting a basic human need. The department is excited about the difference the student-led Campus Kitchen at the University of Kentucky can make in finding hunger solutions for our community."


The national organization, The Campus Kitchens Project Inc., was founded in 2001 with the goal of empowering college students to fight local hunger and to raise awareness about poverty, garden initiatives, nutrition education and food policy. UK’s is the first in Kentucky.


“We are thrilled to welcome the University of Kentucky to The Campus Kitchens Project network,” said Laura Toscano, director of The Campus Kitchens Project. “With the launch of their Campus Kitchen, students will not only recover unused food to create meals for those in need, but they will also create programs that support the community and develop themselves as student leaders in the process.”


In October, students in the UK Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition had one week to encourage supporters to vote daily for their video on the Campus Kitchens website Of the five schools that participated, UK received the most votes. As a result, they received a $5,000 grant sponsored by AARP Foundation to start a kitchen.


Tammy Stephenson, assistant professor and advisor to the student group, said not only are the students giving to others, but they are learning beneficial lessons at the same time.


“Students develop real-life skills that cannot be taught in the classroom, including leadership, problem-solving and interpersonal communication skills,” she said. “The student leaders of the Campus Kitchen at the University of Kentucky, including President Walter Brown, have spent many months meeting with community and campus partners to establish this program, and we are so proud of their relentless efforts.”


In the last academic year, 36 Campus Kitchens across the country rescued more than 939,000 pounds of food and served nearly 272,000 meals to over 8,500 clients.